Tag Archive 'natural order'

Feb 24 2016

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The Swirl of Natural Order

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gastropod2Well, I’m back to the old scribble, scribble, revising the pantheism manuscript after nearly a year away from it. Feels good to be writing again. I must admit, though, that this is a tough subject – as challenging as cosmology and closely related to that. If I were smart, I’d stick to writing hiking narratives. But no, I have to get philosophical every once in a while. What can I say in my defense? When it comes to writing, I follow my passion.

Some of you might recall that I went to Fisk Quarry a year and a half ago to check out the fossils there. It’s amazing that we can read in stone the history of this planet going back hundreds of millions of years. It’s also amazing that the swirl of a gastropod’s shell is so much like the swirl of hurricanes and galaxies. Those swirls suggest natural order reaching across time and space. “All is not chaos,” they seem to say, which strikes me as a deeply religious notion – one that I embrace wholeheartedly. Hence the book now in progress.

A tough subject, indeed. Natural order suggests that nature exists beyond our conception of it. Nature with a capital “N” that is, which is nothing less than God-talk. When it comes to rational discourse, no subject is tougher than that.

Incredibly, I am writing natural theology. It’s hard to say what exactly has brought me to this point. I came away from the Alaskan wilderness with pantheistic inclinations, I suppose. Before that I could have passed for an existentialist.

It’ll be another year before I finish this book, and another year after that before it’s published. But I thought it important for those of you who have been following my wanderings and wonderings to know what I’m up to these days. Yeah, I’m in the deep end of the pool now. Good thing I know how to swim.

 

 

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Mar 15 2015

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Big Questions

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gastropod1What’s the weather like? What’s for dinner? What’s on TV? These are the kind of questions that most people ask themselves nearly every day. As long as I keep to this program, I’m just a regular guy. But I have a tendency to stray. I have a tendency to ask big questions, very big questions – questions for which there are no simple answers.

Last year I completed a manuscript about my immersion into amateur astronomy a decade ago and the big questions that arose from it. At the same time, I read all sorts of theological works, sampling the world’s major religions. The result as been a long winter of intense metaphysical inquiry and difficult writing about things that no one really understands.

Last fall I visited Fisk Quarry and saw the fossilized remnants of creatures that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Those swirls embedded in rock reminded me of spiral galaxies, hurricanes and other natural phenomena. All this suggests to my impressionable mind that there’s such a thing as natural order, that the patterns I see in the world around me are not just a figment of my imagination. That gets me thinking about why patterns exist.  And that, in turn, gets me thinking about the Absolute.

The great thaw has commenced here in the North Country. Soon I’ll be wandering around the woods looking for spring wildflowers, blathering like a fool about how wonderful and beautiful the world is. Then I won’t be so lost in my abstractions. Then again, everything in nature reminds me of divine order. I see spots on the back of a ladybug, a heavy mist clinging to a forested mountain, or the waxing moon rising after dark and sense the sublime. I’m a hopeless romantic.

 

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